Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —
Greetings with grace and mercy in The Blessed Name of our Lord Yeshua h’meshiach. May He Alone be blessed and glorified and may you be edified and blessed…for His glory!
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,Nor are your ways My ways,” says theLord.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,So are My ways higher than your ways,And My thoughts than your thoughts.”ISAIAH 55:8,9
I know that at least SOME of you have thought that I have been silent because I was caught up in the blessing of the yearly IFI Prayer Conference (Intercessors for Israel, the prayer group that I am part of on Friday mornings, for a short while anyway before leaving for work). Well, it was my joyful intention, but it was not to be this year.
The Lord had other things to teach me about keeping my shield up, about fears and walking in victory and about so much more.
So off I went to the hospital on 16th January, the day after my 44th birthday in HIM. I couldn’t breathe. I had a sudden and severe case of influenza A and viral pneumonia.
I saw and learned a lot during the 6 days that I was in hospital, although my sister insists that there are better places to go for vacation.
On the 14th, we had a severe sand storm blowing in from Egypt, yellow, thick, sand-air. I had to be out in it a fair amount of time, although the air quality warning was in effect. I was also on the bus and train, virtually emergency rooms on wheels with all of the coughing, but I was surprised when before evening I was having difficulty breathing. By the next day I began to run a high fever. Being “immune compromised,” I simply don’t run fevers, so I decided to check with my doctor who sent me off for an x-ray and then onto emergency.
That’s when I began writing this letter in my head to you.
I think that I wrote to you first after being poked and prodded for about 6 hours in emergency. They decided to keep me and put me in a special acute observation room for contagious patients with compromised immune systems. It was a nice quiet big clean ward with 12 beds and I was deeply grateful to be wheeled to a bed finally. Then I saw that there were no pillows or blankets, just a bottom sheet. Thankfully I was experienced enough with our hospitals to usurp not just one but two blankets. However, alas for my neck and back, there were NO pillows. Period. So I rolled up my jackets and sweaters under my neck.
I have explained before that our public hospital system is quite different than in the west generally. There are no niceties like tooth brushes or slippers, water brought to you, or menus (aside from medically necessitated) or blanket or pillow. You ARE allowed to have family or friends with you 24/7. Volunteers roam the hospital offering comfort, prayers, drinks and snacks to patients and visitors alike. My first experience with an Israeli hospital came with a huge dose of culture shock, but I soon saw that NOTHING was compromised when it came to equally distributing quality medicine, just western comforts are not present. At all.
I spent 2 days in the observation ward. It was finally decided that I was not improving but in fact, my health was deteriorating. I was then moved upstairs into the main hospital, to the Internal Medicine A ward. I was too sick to notice much at first, but much effectual prayer by dear righteous saints coupled with treatment awakened me to my surroundings after a day or so.
“Shoshana?” I called to my roommate. “I know that I know you from somewhere but I can’t figure out from where.”
She answered. “Aren’t you Dr. Meshulam’s patient?”
I asked her. “Yes! Oh! You are Dr. Rothenberg’s secretary!”
Shoshana (who is a young 83) is someone whom I have seen over the years but we never got to know one another. She had many visitors. Her children and Grandchildren came but also she had a volunteer helper’because she was a Holocaust survivor. Her helper was literally Mary Poppins. On the first day that I was able, I took my Bible and began to try to focus on the Words. Mary Poppins (of Moroccan descent) was a religious woman and she zeroed in on me immediately.
“What are you reading?” she asked.
“The Tenach,” I answered, “the Nevi’em.” I was reading in Ezekiel at the moment.
She came over.
“I’m reading in English,” I said. “It is my mother tongue.”
She eyed me. “Where are you from?” she asked suspiciously.
I told her.
“Are you Jewish? Where is your makor (your source…roots)?”
I told her that my father’s family was from Iran originally and my mother from Europe.
“The prophets are ours,” she said.
“Yes, with ALL of their promises…it is all so beautiful.”
She kept eyeing me. “You converted to Judaism?”
“No. Not at all. All of my family has been Jewish since the beginning. None of my ancestors intermarried.” (I chose not to tell her about my husband, considering her accusatory tone).
“You know, there are those who convert but they are not of us. They know the scriptures better than we do. They know the prophets but they serve h’Shem (The Name of God) AND The OTHER One.”
The only answer that I gave her was, ‘Well I was born Jewish!’
I turned away and toward The Lord. I began asking Him, “Why am I here Lord?” Pity party was knocking loudly. He suddenly reminded me of the last time that I was in the hospital. Looking for a quiet corner in which to read my Bible, I sat in front of a window overlooking the forest. As I looked, a forest fire was set! It was hot and dry and there had been many arson fires. I ran to tell the nurse to call the fire department and it took some convincing until I dragged her to the window where she could see the fire already creeping up the hill toward the hospital. So she ran and called the fire department. I watched until it was put out and thought, “Is that why I am here?”
He answered, “What do you see? Tell!”
“How will we reach our people?” I asked Him. “They seem inoculated against You.”
I suddenly remembered a tiny woman named Sister Beryl from Sri Lanka who had visited our fellowship in our small remote Alaskan village. She and I talked in depth. She had said to me, “Don’t try to get them to drop the silver. Just keep reaching out to them with the gold. They will then drop the silver and reach for the gold themselves.”
As one who didn’t get saved through a witness or a testimony, but through the revelation of The Lord from The Lord Himself. I KNOW that He can do this but I also remembered that the gold was Present through real revival that had people on their knees praying and fasting for the likes of me.
I saw the silver at its best in the hospital. Young men came along, shyly handing out bags of popcorn. Mature people came bed to bed to pray for the sick and offer help. Four young men with instruments came on Shabbat going room to room to sing Psalms and bring comfort. On and on it went.
The silver is real. THE GOLD IS SEEN WHEN THERE IS TRULY MORE OF HIM AND LESS OF US. My heart groans. “Yes Lord! Enable me.”
Thankfully Mary Poppins wasn’t there over Shabbat. Shoshana and I had plenty of time to really get to know one another. What a privilege it was for me. She told me that she was born in Vienna Austria in 1933, an only child. When she was just 2 years old the Nazis arrived. She and her parents were sent to the infamous Warsaw Ghetto in Poland. She grew up there until about 1939 with the horrors, the bodies, the starvation and diseases. She told me of a guard who used to shoot children for fun, laughing, throwing them in the air for target practice and how she was terrified that he would catch her. They escaped and were reluctantly hidden by Polish farmers until the war ended. Her parents also survived but were deeply damaged by the war. They had typhoid fever and were taken care of in a hospital for several years. During that time the Youth Aliyah (orphans taking care of orphans lead by young Israelis) took Shoshana and other war orphans (she was 8 at the time) and taught her all about Israel, language, history finally bringing her here where she went to live in the youth village of Pardas Hanna.
Her parents arrived 2 years later. Her eyes lit up and she looked at me triumphantly: “From one, that is me, I have 4 children 12 Grandchildren and 14 Great Grandchildren. We are a tribe!”
Until Shoshana, I had not really given much thought or prayer to the CHILD survivors. I know so many through my work who are now in their upper 90s and tell such stories, but to think of a tiny child, the age of my grandchildren losing their childhood in such horror, I wept. It was an honor and an eye opener.
Sunday came and suddenly everything was different. We could feel it. There was something going on. I was taken down to CT to scan my lungs as there was a hemorrhage. The man who took me down to CT stopped and had a long-animated discussion with a friend along the way, very emotional but in Arabic, so I did not understand.
We have been enduring the nightmares of the Friday riots on our border with Gaza for so very long now. I braced, wondering what new anger was in the air. I waited quite a while and the man helping me shook his head and said in Hebrew, “I’m sorry that took so long. Many died and now another.”
I thought, “Uh oh…Gaza…” but I was wrong.
“There were eight this weekend. One on your ward. There have NEVER been eight before! Not since the beginning of the hospital. The freezer holds six. Only in a war do they bring in portable freezers. This is the first time that there have been so many!’ He was very agitated. “This is not good!”
When I got back upstairs, Shoshana met me with all of her possessions and mine as well. “They are cleaning really hard. We had to leave our room for a few hours while they clean.”
So, it turned out that whoever had my bed before me, died, and the autopsy culture came back showing a superbug. The kind that there is no cure for. I prayed and watched. I watched government disease control and forensic detectives scour the ward. I watched as infrared lights were traced along the walls. The nurses knew that I work in a doctor’s office and so confided in me.
I have always been interested in the influenza outbreak of 1918. My Mother was born in a NYC hospital during the worst of it and I heard how my Grandmother prayed that she and her baby would live. Approximately 100 million worldwide did not.
“Lord? What does this mean?”
Don’t you love it when He answers and scripture begins to flood your mind from places that you haven’t read recently? 1 Chronicles 21:15-28 grabbed me. David had sinned. He numbered the people in a great sin before The Lord and then got to choose the punishment. He chose 3 days of plague. And in a great act of true intercession, he met The Angle of The Lord on the threshing floor of Ornon the Jebusite. He paid the full price for it and built an alter. The Lord accepted his deep repentance. AND in 2 Chronicles 3:1 we read: “Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
This is no doubt the same site which Avraham came to in Gen. 22:2. Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
I could barely stand it as they continued the next day to scrub, test, culture. All I could think of was that the place of true intercession, of true repentance, of a true altar, of a burnt sacrifice was the place where The Lord chooses to put His Name. The place of The Temple. We are His body, the Temple of The Holy Spirit. WOW! BUT DAVID HAD TO KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF HIS SIN AND FULLY REPENT.
What does it MEAN? I don’t know but I saw and am telling. The following day the entire ward was scoured again and ultraviolet lights carefully examined every nook and cranny. As I spoke with doctors and nurses they explained that this was a huge year for tourism and many strains of influenza merged in the country under the right conditions to produce a superbug. My cultures came back free of the superbug so I was released as quickly as possible. As I spoke to the nurse, wishing her to stay free from all of this upheaval, another old lady standing beside me smiled and explained, “Oh, they don’t get sick. They have special vaccines just for health workers so they stay well.”
The nurse and I glanced at one another stifling a laugh.
In the incredible weakness that I have experienced with this I have been able to renew my stand on The Rock in Whom our faith rests. I have said, “YES” to His armor and no to fear. I have stepped into the waters of being clothed in His Strength when I am weak.
It has been quite an intense few weeks. I KNOW that I have more stories to share then these and that I should have shared them better. I went back to work yesterday, perhaps too soon but no choice. I ask for prayer for both of us as my husband is still quite ill. BUT I HAVE PEACE.
I wish that I had other things to share just now, but what I offer is first to God so I am trusting that He will bless some of you perhaps. It comes mixed with my love,
your sister J